Fresh Del Monte FY profit down

Fresh Del Monte FY profit down

Fresh Del Monte Produce said today (2 March) that its prepared food business segments had negatively impacted its 2009 results.

For the 12 months to 1 January, the company earned US$143.9m compared to $157.7m in 2008. Annual sales dropped slightly to $3.49bn from $3.53bn in the prior year.

Net income for the fourth quarter dropped to $22.8m from $26.2m in the prior year due to lower gross profits and higher selling costs, partially offset by lower interest expense.

However, fourth-quarter sales rose to $872.1m from $831m in 2008. The increase was driven by an improved performance in the company's gold pineapple and fresh-cut product lines, along with higher sales from the company's banana division.

In the firm's prepared foods division, net sales decreased 5% to $89.3m for the fourth quarter thanks to lower sales from its company's canned pineapple and beverage product lines. For the year, sales from the division dropped to $337.4m from $412.4m in 2008.

"We delivered a solid fourth quarter, particularly in the face of a prolonged economic slowdown which affected profitability in our Europe and Asia banana businesses," said chairman and CEO Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh. "Our primary objectives for 2010 are to continue expanding our core product lines, controlling costs, and maintaining our commitment to increase shareholder value over the long-term."

Operating income for the year dropped to from $170.6m to $148.2m, while for the fourth quarter, the figure increased to $34.3m from $26.9m in 2008.

Click here for the complete full-year statement and click here for Fresh Del Monte's plans to expand in Asia.